How to Avoid Running Injuries

Running is one of the best ways to exercise, but it’s also known to wear and tear on the body – facing an injury without the right care can hinder your performance indefinitely. To help out intrepid runners, we’ve prepared a list of tips to help you and show how to avoid running injuries.

While running, you can go farther, faster. When you go as far as you do, whether it be three miles, six miles, 12 miles or 26.2 miles, as fast as you do, it takes a toll on your body. This, however, isn’t an excuse to go sedentary.

Here are the best ways to treat running injuries.

Get The Right Pair of Shoes

The most important element of staying healthy when you’re running consistently is making sure you have a pair of shoes that contours to the shape of your foot and the way that you run.

If you’re running any sort of distance, it’s essential that you get shoes designed for running – running in any pair of sneakers can land you in shin splints or cause knee issues. Luckily, it is not hard to get yourself well-equipped. Just go to any proper running store and see if they can help you out.

Most will be able to take a look at your feet and your stride and make a recommendation based on that, and you can figure out for yourself whether you have wide or narrow feet and high or flat arches. Also, if you can, rotate out a couple pairs of shoes – they’ll last longer and you’ll have better support for more time.

Stretch After Your Run

The last thing anyone wants to do after a run is sit down for five minutes and stretch, but if you want to keep on being able to run, you should take that time.

Post-run stretches greatly reduce the chance of injury. All it takes is a few exercises to relax your muscles and ease tension, muscle soreness and chance of injury. That five minutes will even help you recover quicker.

The key to stretching is to make sure you do so slowly and steadily. Lengthening the muscle without bouncing or putting additional pressure on it, however, is counterproductive. Thirty seconds per stretch should be plenty.

Don’t Overtrain

After deciding on a race, training begins. You’ll develop a workout plan with manageable runs and quick recovery, and you’ll be tempted to keep pushing. Resist the urges.

There’s a reason why training schedules are set up the way they are, and that’s because if you ramp up your mileage or pace too quickly, there’s a good chance it’ll lead to an injury.

Fortunately, there’s a very easy way to know how quickly is too quickly, and that’s the 10-percent rule. You should never increase your mileage by more than 10 percent from one week to the next. If you run 20 miles one week, bump up to 30 overnight.

Hydrate Properly

It’s no shocker that you need to hydrate when you’re running, but it is a little bit more nuanced than people think. The general idea is that if you drink water, you’re hydrated. The real key to hydration, however, is to make sure you’re drinking well before the time to run arrives, not just right when you’re about to take off.

In fact, you really shouldn’t drink much within an hour of heading out, although you can have a bit right before you start. It’s important, interestingly enough, not to over hydrate, which can be tempting if you’re running a really long race like a marathon. Drink when your thirsty – don’t force it down.

RICE

This handy acronym is the best way to treat almost every running injury. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

If you do end up with some sore joints or muscles, the best way to take care of it is a combination of these four techniques. It’s a simple trick for staying able-bodied, but it actually works.

Before you know it, you’ll be back on the trail, signing up for your next marathon and completing your morning runs again.

dirty running shoes

Treadmill VS Road: Where Should You Run?

When the choice between the treadmill or the trail presents itself before your next run, do you know which to choose to maximize performance?

Running is good for your heart, muscles and mind, but tough on your ligaments and joints. How and where should you run if you want to maximize conditioning while minimizing wear-and-tear?

Before we get to comparing the two major means by which humans run today, let’s get one thing out of the way: running is harsh. Slamming the full weight of your body through your knees and into your feet, stride after stride, eventually starts to take a toll.

A full-body, low impact activity like swimming (or using an elliptical machine) might be a better option if you want to reduce knee stress.

Sometimes, however, Adrenalists just need to run. If you want to get a great cardio workout, burn fat and build lower body strength, then you’ll still want to lace up your running shoes.

So who wins in the treadmill vs road battle? Read on to learn what both challenges have to offer.

biomechanics

Biomechanics

On the road, you push the earth, but on a treadmill, the earth pushes you. This forces a fundamental shift in an athletes’ running form, with some runners leaning forward on a treadmill, and others taking longer strides.

The biggest difference between road and treadmill biomechanics, however, is caused by work done for you by the treadmill. You may not feel it, but every second the moving belt pulls your supporting leg backwards. It is doing work for you. It’s one of the main reasons treadmill running is easier than running outside.

treadmill

Environmental Factors

The biomechanics are just one factor that makes treadmill running easier than running outside. Contributing along with it is a lack of wind resistance. Studies show that wind resistance can cause sprinters to expend as much as 13 percent more energy running outside than on a treadmill.

That’s a lot of energy – calories that regular joggers will have to burn running on an increased incline (1-2 percent) or with more time in the gym.

Wind is just one outdoor factor that makes the road more challenging than the treadmill. There are also obstacles and the imperfections of the road.

A passing car or hole in your path can force you to change your pace, shift your weight or change directions. These actions seem trivial as they are happening, but add up over the course of an outdoor run.

running outside

Injury Prevention

Here, the treadmill has the edge. Nearly all running experts agree that running on a treadmill is safer overall than running outside. This isn’t just because of the cars and holes; a treadmill belts absorb shock and reduces risk of both acute and chronic injuries.

According to a 2003 study, outdoor runners are as much as 285 percent more likely to experience tibial stress fractures than treadmill runners. Various other studies suggest softer surfaces are better for preventing chronic injuries like tendinitis and osteoarthritis.

Psychology

No matter what, you should run in a way that pushes you to the next level. Some people find running on a treadmill tedious. To these people we suggest watching TV. You shouldn’t, however, tune in to just any program.

Something stimulating that you can pickup and ignore at your leisure is best. Treadmills are made for multitasking. On a treadmill, the finish line is the time or mile display. For those who crave the fresh air and the act of pure running, outside is the way to go.

Ultimately, the treadmill vs road battle burns down to your priorities and preferences. The treadmill offers control, balance, and less long-term knee stress. You can execute perfectly-paced interval training with speed control, and measure your time and distance exactly, so you know when to push yourself to DO:MORE.

The open road however, offers the opportunity to explore and carve your own path on the natural world. The elements may present a greater challenge, but that’s exactly what you may need to keep growing mentally and physically.

No matter how you run, go healthy and go hard.

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